September 8, 2019
Scripture: 1st John 3:7-8
Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous. The person who practices sin belongs to the devil, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning. God’s Son appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil.
Thought for the Day: At the end of Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort is attempting to claim Harry. Harry is struggling as he recognizes this deep connection within himself to this evil force that is Voldemort. Dumbledore steps in and whispers, “Harry, it isn’t how you are alike. It’s how you are not.” As I have said before in regard to 1st John, there isn’t much middle ground, very little gray. Impassioned speakers and writers tend to communicate with dramatic flare, “It is this way or the highway.” “You are either for us or against us.” People who are seeking a dramatic change in others, usually because of the seriousness of the situation, do not spend time trying to cover the murkier areas, or point out the potential ambiguity that might exist. But in regard to the fictional character Harry Potter, there is already the full acknowledgement of the tension, the internal struggle. Both good and bad, hope and despair, promise and failure live within him, and so it becomes a story of making difficult choices that are very rarely absolutes. I like the clear picture of 1st John, but I also know myself. There are internal battles, some of them I have yet to even acknowledge, yet I believe I am making the best choices I can make in the moment. That’s where we desperately need grace as it is the voice that comes alongside us to call us to something greater. Like Dumbledore, grace whispers to us amidst the complexity, “It isn’t how you are alike. It’s how you are not.” It is about seeing ourselves more fully, and learning to claim what is healthy and life-giving more and more each day.
Prayer: Teach me, and as you are teaching me, Lord, be patient. I’ve got some personal work that needs doing, yet too often I settle with the less than perfect. I know I will never be perfect, but with your Spirit, I believe tomorrow will provide me the opportunity to do better than I did today. Amen.
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